Lessons abound at this year’s county fair


By Melanie Yingst



The 169th annual Miami County Fair wrapped up on Thursday and all I can say is that I feel like I got hit by a big, muddy, Mack truck.

I have blisters. I have bruises. I have dark circles rimming my eyes. I lost four pounds because I was so busy I didn’t get the chance to snag an elephant ear.

Mother Nature finally decided to bless us with much-needed rain — and boy did she deliver.

It seemed to rain non-stop through the weekend.

Boots were soggy, jeans were soaking wet and add the sweet smell of livestock animals, we were all a sight for sore eyes.

But that didn’t dampen our fun.

My buddy Swank fulfilled the dream Addison and Devin, city friends from bustling Ansonia, who showed gilts last weekend. Seeing Addy’s face light up and her fierce determination in the ring was definitely a highlight to see. They each did well in their classes.

In fact, Addy coached me in how to show a pig in the adult showmanship division. She had made it look so easy, of course, I thought I could do it. So I signed up in the late hours of the night of the show with friends. They all backed out, but I thought I would give it a shot.

People, I’ve never shown a pig in my life. I’ve always wanted to try and with Swank’s pigs, I, too, got to show my first time in the swine barn.

I was more nervous messing up the professional pig people out there. Of course, my pig was the only one who took off running in the ring towards the end.

But seeing Swank and Addy’s smiling faces from the green gates was a real treat. It was also nice to use the blinged out whip for it’s true and intended purpose.

Evan also did really well at his fourth 4-H fair with his lambs Sheldon and Jay. Lambs aren’t the easiest to work with. They are built like miniature jumping elephants, but with all the hours of practice in the front yard with Grandpa, their hard work paid off. I’ll admit,the following thoughts were running through my head on day one: “We are never doing this again. This is it. This is the last time” as Evan headed out to the ring.

Lambs aren’t the easiest to work with. They are built like miniature jumping elephants, but with all the hours of practice in the front yard with Grandpa, their hard work paid off. I’ll admit,the following thoughts were running through my head on day one: “We are never doing this again. This is it. This is the last year!” as Evan headed out to the ring.

To our surprise, he hung on for dear life. It wasn’t pretty, but we survived and he did the best he could, which is all we had asked. And yes, we’ll do it all again next year.

Sheldon earned fourth and fifth and Jay earned fifth and sixth in their show categories. We were super pleased with how he did.

Sheldon also ate Evan’s fifth place ribbon at some point during the fair week, but we’ll at least have photos to remember this accomplishment and a tiny sliver of green ribbon for proof.

This is also the first year I’ve let Evan run around the fair with his friends. In the evenings, it was nice to watch him and his buddies play hide-and-go-seek around the rabbit and pig barns. I know in the next year or two, they’ll be chasing girls, but for the time being, I got to see them enjoy the simple things in life.

Evan also got a much-needed lesson in the art of “tipping.” I had given Evan a $10 bill to buy two sweet teas for myself and my mother before the junior livestock sale. You see, my innocent kid believes everything he reads. Well, he found a tip jar at a concession stand that stated: Leave us a tip! You could win a Million Dollars.

When he returned, I asked for my change back, and he handed me $1.

You see, my innocent kid believes everything he reads. Well, he found a tip jar at the sweet tea stand which stated: Leave us a tip! You could win a Million Dollars.

So he explained how he had tipped the sweet tea people $5 for two $2 iced teas for a chance to win a million dollars. So in the sale barn, I had to explain that there’s a fine line between being generous and gullible. I hope he carries this lesson with him in life and for county fairs for years to come.

All in all, Evan had a great time, worked really hard and came through the fair mostly unscathed.

But for now, I need a nap, some Icy Hot, and a $10 sweet tea to recover from this year’s fair experiences.

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By Melanie Yingst

“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears weekly in the Troy Daily News. She survived the county fair and she had the blisters and bruises to prove it.

“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears weekly in the Troy Daily News. She survived the county fair and she had the blisters and bruises to prove it.

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